Today, the brother embarks on a cross-country road trip – just him, a truck, and his guitar (and maybe a few more personal belongings, but really, not much).
Like me, Michael, too, was influenced and challenged after watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. (You can't help but be inspired with Ben Stiller's character skateboarding through beautiful scenic roads in Iceland and climbing to the top of the Himalayas.) Anyways, it was time for Michael to get out and go. For him this looked like traveling the US, searching for cool music scenes, writing lyrics inspired by adventure, and discovering this corner of the world.
The plan was to drive his faithful Toyota Avalon, camp when he could, and sleep on the back bench when a feasible spot could not be found. That plan was soon dumped and a more fun one was put in its place – truck camping!
Day-in and day-out was spent in search of the perfect truck! As typical of Craigslist, many ads gave terrible photos and minimal information, tons of owners were hard to reach, and most trucks were priced way too high for their quality. In the end, his search landed him in Arizona where he found the perfect catch – a 1997 Toyota T100. Mom and Dad (lovely parents) drove out there to get it. The old ranch man who was selling it was the original owner. Due to his age he had to make a tough decision to part ways with his true love (the truck). It was a hard goodbye, but knowing he could read about her travels on a blog Michael would be writing along the way, helped to ease the pain.
Since then, the truck has been modified a bit, upgraded into a more livable space. With a shell covering the bed of the truck, the back now acts like a small bedroom. It's a tight squeeze but you'd be surprised what can fit back there. Michael built a bed frame in it, complete with a lower storage area underneath and a pull-out drawer for kitchen utensils that also functions as counter space. Along with the bed and "kitchen-area", he has a cooler to keep perishables, a propane stove, and a few plastic bins for personal belongs. He also purchased a pretty neato battery-powered shower contraption made by Zodi Outback Gear. The solar-shower-bag he originally purchased leaked, so he went for this option to fend off unnecessary messes in his tiny space. I can't say how it will hold up, but it seems pretty legit. I'm sure he'll post about some funny bathing experiences on his blog, so I'd recommend checking it out to see how it's going.
Here's a low-down on where his truck will be taking him in the next 1 to 3 months (depending how long he decides to stay out there on the road):
Now, since I'm pretty new on the whole "traveling/living in your vehicle" phenomenon, I thought I'd share a bit into the various ways it can be done. Overland Journal describes this lifestyle for us, along with a few different related terms :
A 4WD vehicle or adventure motorcycle prepared for self-reliant travel over long distances, through unpredictable weather and over variable terrain.
Traveling in a vehicle to an established campground. If there is a picnic table there, it is probably car camping.
Vehicle-supported, self-reliant adventure travel, typically exploring remote locations and interacting with other cultures.
Back Country Adventure
A one-day or multi-day off-highway trip on an adventure motorcycle or in a 4WD vehicle.
An organized, vehicle-dependent journey with a defined purpose, often geographic or scientific in nature
(For more stories on vehicle travel – primarily focused on overlanding – visit provenoverland.com to read some epic accounts of ordinary people embarking on extraordinary adventures, all from the comfort of their favorite car.)
I guess I'd put Michael in the last category, "vehicle-dependent travel", since he will be spending most of his time traveling-to and exploring the more urban areas of the country. You never know though, he might just catch a liking for exploring backroads, off-roading to unknown destinations, and discovering hidden beauty off the beaten path. I guess you'll have to follow along to find out.
You're doing it! You're following a dream. You're making it happen. And you're letting the rest of us know that it's possible. I'm proud of you brother. (Now it's time for me to get that Jeep I've always wanted!)
Your one and only sister!